Updated February 15, 2018 at 8:18 AM; Posted February 14, 2018 at 12:06 PM
JACKSON, MI - The lawyer for a lieutenant who filed a lawsuit this week against Sheriff Steven Rand and Jackson County has released a list of recordings made by sheriff's Lt. Tommy Schuette, who contends Rand is a "multifaceted bigot."
Among them are derogatory mentions of employees, several of them targeting women, in staff meetings or other conversations with or involving the sheriff.
The audio was provided to MLive.com by attorney James K. Fett, who represents Schuette in the federal lawsuit. Fett provided the recordings to illustrate support for his client's claims against the sheriff. The audio has not been independently verified by MLive.com.
Responding to messages, Rand reached out to a reporter Wednesday. "There is not much I can tell you. I have not had the opportunity to speak with any legal counsel yet, nor have I seen the full allegations in the lawsuit," he said in a voicemail and did not answer a return call. "It would completely imprudent of me to even make any comment at this time."
Here are some excerpts of the recordings:
- "I'd definitely (inaudible) on that. That's so f----- hot... I wouldn't want to get a picture of my dick and you know, send it to the wife. Can you blame me?" Rand said of a female court employee.
- At a different time, about the same employee, he says, to Schuette: "You just realized she is a f------ c---. She realizes she is really hot." Schuette says she did not acknowledge him at a tournament. Others share similar experiences. Someone suggests she is shy. "That is c---. is pure c---," a man says.
- Of another woman employee at the courthouse, Rand said to a commander: "Are you f------ her....?" Someone said he would "stick it in her a-- as far as I could." The sheriff responds: "About 15 years ago I would have." And he continues: "Although I always joked with (a former commander)... I wanted to make a snuff film with her. She is gonna be the star.
"Shoot her right in the back of the head when I (inaudible) my load."
Another voice says: "Donkey punch her."
Laughter follows. "C---."
- Schuette is talking about extending an employment offer to a woman. Someone else makes a note, saying her "a-- is phenomenal."
"What about the rest of her?" Rand says.
Schuette goes on to say she was confident and interviewed well, and Rand stops him. "Tell me more Tommy."
- In separate clip, of a female county judge taking a leadership role, Rand says: "The other plate spinning up there is (name redacted) becoming the chief circuit court judge, which is apparently in the works, and that she may want to do it. She will f--- it all up, because she is a scatter-brained c---."
- As Schuette, who has hiring responsibilities, talks about a terminated black employee, Rand says: "I thought you gingers stuck together with the blacks."
Another voice says: "You kept saying they're your people."
- Rand is recorded calling Schuette a "queer." There are some inaudible comments and he eggs on Schuette. "I think you would. I think you should try it. In fact, let's turn the lights down... Come on Tommy. You know you want to."
Schuette responds: "So gross."
Rand says: "You know you want to."
Jackson County Undersheriff Chris Kuhl circulated a statement Wednesday, in response to the lawsuit: "Jackson County Office of the Sheriff asks for the public's patience and will continue to serve the community to the highest possible standard without regard to race, ethnicity, sexual preference or identity."
The county, as news of the lawsuit broke, did the same: "The County vehemently denies any wrongdoing associated with the events alleged in the lawsuit... The allegations, if true, are absolutely abhorrent and represent conduct that is repugnant to Jackson County's commitment as clearly set out in its many employment policies and practices."
Many of the provided recordings are short snippets or highlights. There also are longer recordings of meetings that address various sheriff's office concerns, including funding, hiring, contract negotiations, school liaison officers, jail issues and other topics. At times, it is clear those involved in the conversation are making, or taking, comments as jokes. Often, there is laughter.